Choose Your Own Adventure: Dinner With Friends
By Jon Watson
It’s Friday night, and all week long, you have looked forward to this dinner out with your friends. Drinks and conversation flow, a few well-received shared apps shared. Service is friendly and attentive. You all comment on how this restaurant was an excellent choice.
Right on cue, the entrees arrive and you watch as your friends’ eyes roll back at their first bites, and they gush, “Oh my GOSH, you have to try this!” But you aren’t listening. You are too distracted by the well-done slab of meat on your plate as you attempt to relive the moment you ordered to be certain that, yes, you totally asked for medium rare.
Just then, as you cock your head to the side to get a better look at the cross-section of your first cut you hear, “How is everything folks?”
If you bite your tongue and smile, saying “Good, thanks”, turn to page 17.
If you inform the server of the error and send the food back, turn to page 28.
If you keep your thumb on this page and flip to pages 17 and 28 to see which ending you like better, you are cheating and completely missing the point.
While not the quite as exciting as the Alien Abduction or Haunted House stories we read as kids, this is a real life dilemma that many experience at one time or another. And it is one that many of us wish we could simply dog-ear and skip ahead to see if that replacement dish will arrive with a little something “extra” from the kitchen before you really commit.
The decision as to whether or not to return food that is either incorrect, improperly cooked, or poorly seasoned isn’t an easy one. Fear of retribution drives the decision to grin and bear it for most of us, while the desire to avoid looking like a sender-backer often rides shotgun.
Good business-to-consumer decorum suggests that if something isn’t to our liking, we are well within our rights to politely bring it to the server’s attention, who will then apologetically and swiftly correct the mistake, offer some complimentary amends, and ensure that you leave happy with the overall experience. But life doesn’t always work like that. The patron isn’t always polite, and the business isn’t always accommodating. So what do you do?
Where do you draw the line? How bad does it have to be for you to send something back, and do you still find yourself peeking under the arugula of your replacement just one extra time to make sure nothing was tampered with?
-By Jon Watson, Food & More blog